ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

South Dakota House committee votes 6-2 to not impeach attorney general, only Democrats opposed

House Speaker Spencer Gosch, who chaired the GOP-dominated committee, said Jason Ravnsborg in killing a pedestrian two autumns ago did "not committee impeachable offenses." A minority report claims

IMG_3392.jpg
Jenny Boever, widow of Joe Boever, breaks down on Monday, March 28, 2022, after a House Select Committee announced it would not recommend impeaching Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg. Ravnsborg struck and killed Boever's husband in September 2020.
Christopher Vondracek / Forum News Service
We are part of The Trust Project.

PIERRE, S.D. — After three hours of waiting, on Monday, March 28, a House Select committee announced it would not recommend impeaching the state's attorney general for striking and killing pedestrian Joe Boever 18 months ago.

The committee voted 6-2 to recommend what it's calling the majority report, which finds that Ravnsborg — who pleaded "no contest" to two misdemeanors of distracted driving last August — "did not commit [a] misdemeanor in office, as he committed no crime or other wrongful act involving moral turpitude by virtue or authority of office."

House Speaker and committee chair Spencer Gosch, R-Glenham announced the decision, saying, "A majority of the select committee believes the attorney general, Jason Ravnsborg, did not commit impeachable offenses."

In the second row, Jenny Boever — the victim's widow — broke down as her mother consoled her. The verdict does not mark the end of the travail for Ravnsborg and state lawmakers. In two weeks, the full House of Representatives will return to consider any motion to approve House Resolution 7001, which first brought the impeachment charge to the chamber over a year ago.

But the report will prove persuasive with the GOP-dominated chamber, who'd largely appeared at various points hesitant to impeach one of their own party since last year.

ADVERTISEMENT

A separate minority report received the backing of the committee's two Democrats, Rep. Ryan Cwach, of Yankton, and House Minority Leader Jamie Smith, of Sioux Falls, who is mounting a gubernatorial challenge of Gov. Kristi Noem.

After the announcement on Monday evening, a campaign spokesman for Noem — who has called repeatedly for Ravnsborg to step down — said the committee membership sought political protection for the embattled AG.

"The people of South Dakota deserve better," said Joe Desilets, a campaign spokesman.

Along with Boever's family, very few members of the public attended Monday's proceeding. One man who did, Pierre resident Doug Decker, said the ruling disappointed him.

"I believe he did commit an impeachable offense," Decker told Forum News Service, noting Ravnsborg broke the law the night his vehicle collided with Boever. "He forfeited his privilege to hold elected office."

Christopher Vondracek is the South Dakota correspondent for Forum News Service. Contact Vondracek at cvondracek@forumcomm.com , or follow him on Twitter: @ChrisVondracek .

MORE FROM CHRISTOPHER VONDRACEK:
The state's biggest political leaders have touted inbound migration, so-called "blue state refugees" who flooded South Dakota. But the biggest driver of partisan races this coming summer and fall

Related Topics: GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Christopher Vondracek covers South Dakota news for Forum News Service. Email him at cvondracek@forumcomm.com or follow him on Twitter at @ChrisVondracek.
What to read next
In her recently-proposed budget, more than $400 million was set aside by Gov. Kristi Noem to upgrade aging prison infrastructure. Here's how it will — and won't — be spent.
Most lawmakers agree with Gov. Kristi Noem on her contention that record — and growing — surpluses allow the state to give dollars back to taxpayers. Exactly how to do that is up for debate.
The budget, which features a topline dollar figure of $7.2 billion, makes investments in state employees, providers and the state's correctional infrastructure. Noem will look to push her proposals
Federal prosecutors say Chris Saunsoci, 42, was recording overlapping time punches for two different positions on 139 separate days, which resulted in nearly 600 hours for which he was paid twice.